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 Business: Conducting Company Research 



Important Terms

The North American Industry Classification Systemand the Standard Industrial Classification are both numeric codes used to identify particular industries.  The NAICS is gradually replacing the SIC and lists 20 sectors and 1,170 industries in the US version.

Private Company
A company that does not permit the general public to buy and sell its shares.  

Public Company
A company whose stock can be bought and sold by the general public on a recognized stock exchange.  Public companies are required to file regular reports with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and to disclose financial information. 

A company that is owned or controlled by another company.  The controlling company is called the parent.

An analysis of the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) of a company, project, or business venture.  Strengths and Weaknesses are internal and Opportunities and Threats are external.  

Company Profiles

Business Source Premier (EBSCO)

Click on the Company Profiles tab to search available Datamonitor Company Profiles.  Profiles contain overviews, business descriptions, histories, key employee biographies, information on products and services, a list of key competitors, and a list of locations and subsidiaries.  Most profiles contain a SWOT analysis.  SWOT analyses can also be found by searching for a company name combined with the term SWOT.

Academic Universe (LexisNexis)

Click on the Business link and then the Company Profiles link to obtain a listing of available company profiles.    

Hoover's Handbooks - First Floor Reference Collection - HG4057.A28617

Provides basic information on companies, including business descriptions, histories, some financials and a list of competitors.  The series includes, Hoover's Handbook of American Business, Hoover's Handbook of Emerging Companies, and Hoover's Handbook of Private Companies.

Company Financials/SEC Filings/Annual Reports

Mergent Online

Offers company highlights, equity pricing, financials, and more.  Information can be compared across companies by clicking on the Competitors tab.  SEC filings and annual reports are available from the Annual Reports tab, and the Create Reports tab offers predefined or customized report options.   

Annual Report Gallery

Boasts the most complete and up-to-date listings of annual reports on the Internet. 

Yahoo! Finance

Provides basic company information and is a good starting point for quotes, news, etc.

Company Web Sites

Search for the company's home page, and look for a tab that mentions investors or financials.  From there, companies link to annual reports.  Most companies will also link to their SEC filings.

Company Rankings/Company Comparisons

Business Rankings Annual - First Floor Reference Collection - HG4050.B88

Offers over 3,500 "top ten" lists compiled from a wide variety of business publications. 

Market Share Reporter - First Floor Reference Collection - HF5410.M35

Two volume set that contains market share information compiled from a wide variety of business sources.  This set is updated annually and is indexed by company name, brand name, industry, and product/service.

S&P Industry Surveys - First Floor Reference Collection - HG4905.S7401

Organized by industry; however, many industry profiles contain charts comparing leading companies.  There is also a comparative analysis of leading companies within an industry at the end of each profile.

Ward's Business Directory - First Floor Reference Collection - HG4057.A575

Lists both public and private companies with rankings by industry, geographic location, and total sales.

Forbes' Lists

Web site offering Forbes Magazine's popular lists, such as 200 Best Small Companies, 400 Best Large Companies, and Fastest Growing Techs.

Fortune's Lists

Web site offering Fortune Magazine's popular lists, such as Fortune 500, Global 500, and Best Employers.

Periodical Articles

Business Source Premier (EBSCO)

Provides access to over 8,800 serials, including peer-reviewed journals, popular magazines, and trade publications.  Coverage spans all business disciplines, including marketing, management, MIS, operations, accounting, finance and economics. 

For additional information or for assistance with company research, please contact Cathy Rudowsky, Business Librarian, 724-738-2657,

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